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Belton Focuses on Defense in Spring Drills


Bob Shipley knows his offense can score.  With that side of the ball secure, Belton focused on defense this spring.

“We just want to go out there and prove that we aren’t the same defense as last year,” safety Garrison Vaughn told the Killeen Daily Herald.  “We’re not the same.  We’re a lot better.”

Shipley made a major move this spring, shifting Javvon Chambers, a two-year starter at offensive guard, to the defensive line.  So far, the experiment has proved successful, and the 5-11, 295-pound Chambers should be stuffing opposing running backs and sacking quarterbacks this fall.

“That’s helped a lot, I’m not going to lie,” Vaughn commented to the Daily Herald.  “When you have somebody that big, you have to double team him.”

Returning safeties Vaughn and Hunter Garrett plus linebacker John Harvey, a second-team All-District selection last year, solidify the Tigers defense.  Practicing against Belton’s high octane offense has also given the defense an edge as it heads to the summer, and new defensive coordinator Bryce Monson, former head coach at Temple, has brought new energy to the unit.

“We know this is probably the best offense in the district,” Vaughn stated to the Daily Herald.  “We know if we can hang with them we can hang with anyone.”

Quarterback Peyton Mansell and running back Davion Peoples give the Tigers a powerful one-two offensive punch.  Last season, Mansell passed for 1,708 yards, completing 138-of-231 attempts for 20 touchdowns and tossing only three interceptions.  He also rushed for 661 yards on 113 carries and scored 10 touchdowns.

Peoples complimented Mansell by gaining 1,485 yards on 199 carries and scoring 23 touchdowns.  Shipley believes the pair of District 12-6A first-teamers may the finest duo he has ever coached.

Despite the loss of receiver Olajuwon Taylor to graduation, several pass catchers have stepped to the forefront.  Weston Lucas, Lane Holmes, and former quarterback John Taggart provide Mansell with reliable sets of hands.

“We’re solid all the way at receiver,” Shipley remarked to the Daily Herald.  “Nobody flashy like (Taylor), but steady.”

The Tigers conclude their spring drills with the annual spring game on Thursday, May 27.

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